By Peta Skinner - Employment Services Manager 

According to many government and industry reports, we are seeing a positive bounce on key employment indicators as the pandemic recedes. Australia’s unemployment rate is starting to return to pre-pandemic levels, and in May 2021, 51 per cent of employers indicated that they were actively recruiting.

These government figures are backed up by reports out of the private sector too. In April 2021, job search giant, Seek reported a second consecutive record-breaking month for the number of job ads posted and the lowest number of applications per ad since 2012.

While these are positive indicators for employment, the other side of the coin is that recruitment may be more difficult for employers. Recruitment difficulties were already heightened by the pause in skilled migration due to COVID-19 and there is a risk that skills shortages may be further exacerbated.

VERTO works with job seekers and employers every day, so we see the impact of changing labour market needs. One thing we are seeing right now is more employers thinking outside the box when it comes to recruitment. Here are five strategies you can use to navigate today’s challenging environment.

Upskilling current workforce and planning future one

In a competitive job market, retaining your current workforce is crucial. One way savvy employers are doing this is by upskilling their current team to keep them engaged and build a talent pipeline.

VERTO works with employers of all sizes to meet current and future recruitment needs. We undertake a business analysis and develop a workforce recruitment plan that includes a tailored mix of pre-employment activities, comprising of training, work experience, internships and pre-employment screening. This process ensures a steady stream of prepared candidates and ongoing support to ensure the suitability of the placement.

For a hospitality employer for example, this might be about identifying candidates that are able to work flexible hours and weekends, and providing funding to complete qualifications, short courses or licenses, such as Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), Responsible Conduct of Gambling (RCG), Barista Training and Food Safety Skills.

Reshaping roles to meet market supply

Another interesting trend we are seeing is employers reshaping roles to engage their current workforce, through changes to the role requirements or flexibility such as part-time and job-share arrangements. This flexible approach widens the potential candidate pool and can even create new roles.

At VERTO, we had a recent example of this with a local employer who was seeking a new mechanic. After reviewing the tasks undertaken by their mechanics, it was identified that there were several, such as cleaning and maintaining the garage space, that could be completed by a warehouse or trades assistant. The business reshaped their roles and moved one role to an entry-level maintenance role. This way the mechanics are able to focus on skilled labour, building their skills and expertise in their chosen field, and the business has created a new role to give someone else a career start.

Looking for transferable skills

We are seeing a rise in employers considering the transferable skills an individual could bring to the business, instead of relying too heavily on industry experience. This could be an employee from a COVID-impacted industry, such as a travel agent. Working in this industry may have given the candidate a chance to develop a wide range of sales, administration and account management skills that are immediately transferable to a new industry.

Or it could be a parent or carer, who has taken some time out of the workforce. While this person may not have been adding to their career experience, their experiences as a parent or carer may have built new skills, like time management and multitasking, that could really be a benefit to a business.

Providing these candidates with an opportunity to apply their skills in a new role can often lead to excellent results for a business including a fresh outlook, innovative approach and even a significant sense of loyalty.

Adopting a diverse recruitment strategy

There is a wealth of research out there that highlights the many benefits of diversity in the workplace, from a more positive team culture and increased productivity to lower absenteeism. If you haven’t explored your options for more diverse recruitment, you might be missing out on some of these benefits.

At VERTO, we work with job seekers of all abilities and backgrounds, including people with disability, long-term unemployed, Indigenous job seekers and mature age workers, and we really see the value these candidates can bring to a business.

Unfortunately, these job seekers are often some of the most vulnerable in our community, and many faced additional challenges during the pandemic. Right now, with so many jobs on the market, there is a real opportunity to increase employment among these cohorts and have a positive impact on individuals and communities.

VERTO supports employers through the process, providing tools to successfully transition individuals into employment; from finding the right person to exploring financial incentives and the ongoing provision of post-placement support.

VERTO helps both the employer and employee to navigate the employment arrangement, often acting as a mentor to the new employee and arranging additional training, support and referrals to other targeted programs.

Working with an employment services provider who understands the community

A local employment services provider, like VERTO, will have a good understanding of the local employment market and community they operate in. VERTO can help you explore all your employment options, government incentives and training opportunities to ensure you are building the workforce you need now and into the future.

Whether you are looking to upskill your current workforce or find new team members, VERTO can help. To get started, get in touch with the team on 1300 4 VERTO (1300 483 786) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.verto.org.au.